What has become of Norwich’s old banking buildings?
PUBLISHED: 13:48 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:27 14 February 2019
As restaurant and bar Cosy Club opens in the home of one of Norwich’s most notable former banks, we’ve taken a look at what else some of the city’s grand financial buildings have become.
At 45 to 51 London Street, the eatery has opened in the former National Provincial Bank Building.
The distinctive building, at the junction at Bedford Street and St Andrews Hill, was bought in 1919 and completely rebuilt by architect FCR Palmer and assistant WFC Holden.
It was completed in 1925, and received Grade II listing in 1972.
The National Provincial Bank was formed in 1833 and first opened in Norwich in June 1866 at 36 London Street, which is today the Boots.
The bank, its subsidiary District Bank and the Westminster Bank formed to make the National Westminster Bank in 1970.
Its Norwich branch opened in 1920 at 69 London Street, but closed in 1973 and the business was moved to the London Street offices at 45 to 51.
In 1986, it was renamed the Norwich City Office.
The building has stood empty since 2017, when the bank, today better known as Natwest, moved to Gentleman’s Walk. It has since become the Cosy Club restaurant - for a first look, click here.
Perhaps best known as a former bank in Norwich is the OPEN events and live music venue, which is at home at Bank Plain in the city centre.
In 1779, the building was sold to banker Barlett Gurney to set up the Gurney Bank, with its wine cellars below providing the perfect place for safes for bullion.
In 1896, the Gurney Bank and 20 other smaller banks were amalgamated under the name of Barclay and Co.
The new bank soon outgrew the premises, and in 1926 a new building, the existing one, was designed with its distinctive, large banking hall.
At its peak, it was said to have the longest banking counter in the UK.
It became the regional headquarters of Barclays until it was sold to the Lind Trust in 2003.
In August last year, the Ivy Brasserie opened its doors at 30 London Street.
The historic building was designed by architect George Skipper, also known for building the Jarrold site, in 1906/7.
The beautiful building, made of Portland stone, was designed for the London and Provincial Bank, the name of which is still high up on the building.
It was grade II listed in 1972, and while it was a Barclays bank in the 1980s, it was most recently home to the Gap clothing store, which closed in February last year.
The London and Provincial Bank merged with the London and South Western to form the London, Provincial and South Western Bank, which was taken over by Barclays in 1918.
The former Post Office
Hardwick House, on Agricultural Hall Plain, at the top of Prince of Wales Road, is perhaps one of the city’s most distinctive buildings. It was designed in 1865 by London architect Philip Hardwick and opened one year later as a new premises for the Harvey and Hudson bank, which had opened in 1792 and became known as the Crown Bank.
The bank had previously been trading from an 18th century building in Upper King Street. At its height, the bank had some 30 branches, 13 across Norfolk, 12 in Suffolk and five in Cambridgeshire.
But when the banking crisis hit it struggled, and its senior partner Sir Robert Harvey shot himself at his home in Crown Point. The business was later sold to Gurney and Co, which became bank Barclays.
In 1875, five years later, the building became Norwich’s general post office, which it remained until 1969. ITV Anglia then took it on to use as a television studio, before it was sold again in 2003. Its latest tenants were estate agents Savills, but was listed for sale in January last year.
16 Gentleman’s Walk
Built in 1924 by Henry Munro Cautley, the building was extended into Davey Place in 1925. It is made from stone with slate and flat roofing, and was grade II listed in 1986. Today, the bank, which has Lloyds Bank Limited engraved at the top, remains a Lloyds bank.
Lloyds Bank, Surrey Street
The bank at 2 Surrey Street closed on March of last year, having been there since 1927. The building served as the regional headquarters for Lloyds, but council officers have now paved the way for the building to be used as a restaurant and office space.
An application made to change the use of the ground and floor and basement to a restaurant, and first and second floors to office space was approved in November.
Arguably the best-known financial instutition in Norwich, Surrey House was designed and built between 1900 and 1912 by George Skipper.
It had been commissioned by the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society’s - which has since become Aviva - directors to become its headquarters.
The site was previously occupied by a house owned by Henry Howard.
There are 15 types of marble in its famed marble hall, which is the only part of the building which visitors can freely explore without booking a tour.
There are 40 columns in the main hall, which also features a glass domed ceiling spanning 11 metres in diameter.
Today it is still home to Aviva, and one of the Norwich 12 - an initiative by the Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) to list the 12 most iconic buildings in the city.